Letters to the editor

Biosecurity is everyone's business, Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair says.
Biosecurity is everyone's business, Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair says.

Shared responsibility

Biosecurity is important to all of us. Minimising and ultimately preventing risks from animal and plant pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants is crucial to the health and wellbeing of our economy, environment and communities.

To help us more effectively manage biosecurity risks in NSW, we have a new NSW Biosecurity Act commencing on 1 July 2017. A key principle of the Act is that biosecurity is a shared responsibility involving government, industry and community.

Whether you live in a regional area or a large city, have a small farm or backyard garden, participate in bushwalking, or enjoy recreational fishing, everyone can play a part in managing our biosecurity. The new framework provides greater flexibility in managing risks, including new powers to allow faster response times in an emergency, such as during a disease outbreak.

The Department of Primary Industries is hosting a series of information meetings with key stakeholders across the state to explain the impact of the changes. You can find an online training program and advisory material at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity. The NSW Government is committed to safeguarding our $14 billion primary industries sector, protecting our environment and ensuring our State’s reputation for safe, disease-free food and fibre remains the best in the world.

The Hon Niall Blair MLC

Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, Minister for Trade and Industry

More dangerous than guns and motor vehicles

A recent ABC program revealed that there were 800 deaths since 2014 due to prescription medication. Examples given are from opioids and oxycontin  used as pain relief in overdose quantities. These drugs appear to be more dangerous than guns and motor vehicles.

As a consequence of fatal prescription drug fatalities the government should be looking at an opioid hand back rather than a gun amnesty, which is soon to take place.

The media’s hype over guns isn’t warranted when we compare gun deaths to deaths from prescription medication. However, I venture nothing will be done about opioid deaths as large pharmaceutical corporations are making huge profits from the manufacture of prescription medications and the resulting taxation that flows to government coffers.

Jay Nauss

Glen Aplin

Breaking the barriers around schizophrenia

I am writing on behalf of One Door Mental Health, a member of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, to highlight a new awareness campaign designed to inform readers on schizophrenia.

Our campaign is all about breaking down barriers for people with severe mental illness. People with schizophrenia struggle to get the services they need, experience ongoing stigma and discrimination, and are among the most economically and socially marginalised people in Australia.

It’s a national tragedy that the average life expectancy of someone with schizophrenia is just 54 years old. We estimate that less than 50 per cent of people who have schizophrenia are getting clinical or recovery assistance. This is precisely why we ask readers to reach out. If you or someone you know has schizophrenia, we are here to help. The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia has a free service to help readers everywhere. All people need to do is ring 1800 985 944 or visit minetworks.org.au.

We urge people living with schizophrenia to reach out to us and access our services, join our peer networks, and get involved in our community activities. To the broader community, we ask that you join us in building a mentally healthy Australia - one where all Australians get a fair go.

Rob Ramjan AM

CEO, One Door Mental Health